How to Run Past A Marathon of Fears
Imagine running 26 miles and 385 yards only to find that some type of terrorist laid a trap. With the finish line in sight, several huge explosions destroy the lives of innocent people. The pain and hardships of these senseless acts of brutality are unmeasurable.
Of course, our first response is typically sympathy – while our prayers fill the Heavens.
Then speculation begins. We decipher the clues left. (OK we don’t decipher anything – the smart people in black suits do.) We listen to the news.
Yet in hard times, we need to learn how to respond emotionally. To deal with fear, anger and the other ugly but necessary feelings that emerge out of the chaotic hurtful actions of a few.
In this situation, I find myself carrying on a little less confidently and a little more unsure about the future. My emotions rise and fall with the news reports covering the investigation.
I brace myself for more sudden blasts of negative emotions.
However, in all my bracing my life is racing on, and it compels me to respond appropriately. It’s in these moments I cling to my faith and lessons gleaned from others.
When confronted with the brutal facts of life here are three simple steps a person can take to diffuse an explosion of negative emotions.
3 Steps to Running Past A Marathon of Fears
1. Acknowledge Your Fears – Don’t let a negative emotion linger in the dark corners of your life. Identify and acknowledge it for what it is. When we put a name to our emotion by acknowledging it exists we can formulate a strategy to move past it. We move past negative emotions to useful actions – designed to bring value to others around us.
(Look at it this way – if we feel, good or bad, we’re alive. If we’re alive we can do something about it.)
2. Choose what you will focus on – Anyone who is afraid of heights knows the feeling of vertigo. It’s when our mind focuses on the fall rather than what is actually right in front of us. Instead of looking down we must decide to look no further than our next step. For me, this always involves my faith.
I think about examples like the Apostle Paul who during his many journeys faced fear, anger and even death. At one point, he was beaten, stoned and left for dead outside of the city walls. His first reaction upon waking-up was to go back.
Paul is someone who has overcome his vertigo by the power of his faith.
Our faith can act as a catalyst for action. When tragedy occurs, instead of running to Wal-Mart and buying a gun for self-protection, I try to reach towards my faith. When successful this causes me to reach out in love to make a difference.
Love always trumps hate. When hate rules the day, I say we love more than hate can stand. (You know as Jesus did.)
3. Decide to keep running. – When confronted with fears and other negative emotions we need to train our hearts to keep moving forward. Shortly after, the news broke about the bombings in Boston I noticed a Facebook post from a running friend. “Let’s keep running together.” Even though we might face fears it is most helpful to formulate a new strategy. Despite anger, pain or fear we can say to ourselves; Nevertheless, I am willing.
While our prayers continue for the victims of this latest act of hatred – we can choose to stay steadfast in our devotion to one another. To build a new future rooted in the fruits of a pure Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
…And we can remember the lessons passed on to us by those special few who have willed.
“Pretty soon, if we can somehow stay on our feet, we start to cover ground, we break through our self-doubt and fear and we begin to discover one of the ultimate truths of life: On the other side of fear is freedom.” – Alan Hobson, Mount Everest Climber and Summiteer.
How do you best deal with your negative emotions? (Leave a note in the comment section below.)